Chechnya: 4 soldiers killed, 3 wounded in clashes with militants

The fight between a group of suspected rebels and federal troops erupted late Tuesday in the Vedeno district in southeastern Chechnya, said Roman Shchekotin, spokesman for the Interior Ministry's southern branch.

The attackers, who numbered from four to six, then fled and authorities launched a special operation to locate and detain them, the spokesman said.

Separately, a gunman shot dead a policeman Wednesday in the Chechen capital, Grozny, as law enforcement officers investigated a roadside bomb that had slightly wounded a soldier traveling in a military truck, the Chechen Interior Ministry said.

The unknown assailant, who managed to get away, also wounded a second policeman, who was taken to hospital in a serious condition, the ministry said.

Chechnya has been plagued by a devastating separatist conflict for most of the past 12 years, and rebels continue to mount regular raids against federal forces and local Moscow-backed authorities, the AP reports.